Patterson-led No. 24 Buffalo closes season against Akron

Akron (1-4, 1-4 MAC) at No. 24 Buffalo (4-0, 4-0), Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EST (CBS Sports Network).

Line: Buffalo by 32 1/2.

Series record: Akron leads 11-8.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Buffalo has already clinched the East Division title and a berth in the MAC championship game at Detroit on Dec. 18. A misstep, however, would make the Bulls’ first entry in the national rankings in program history a very short one. Akron snapped a 21-game skid by beating Bowling Green, and has a chance to close its season winning two straight for the first time since 2018.

KEY MATCHUP

Buffalo’s relentless Jaret Patterson-led running game against Akron’s defense. The Bulls are averaging a whopping 324.5 yards per outing, and coming off a 70-41 win over Kent State in which Patterson had 409 yards rushing and an FBS-record matching eight touchdowns. The Zips have allowed opponents 150-plus yards rushing four times, and giving up little over 212 yards rushing per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Akron: Under-sized inside linebacker Bubba Arslanian, who at 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds, ranks fifth in the NCAA in averaging 7.4 solo tackles per game, and had 16 in a 31-3 win over Bowling Green last weekend.

Buffalo: Patterson has become must-see-TV after joining former Texas standout Ricky Williams in becoming just the second college player to top 300 yards rushing in consecutive games. Patterson had 301 yards rushing in a 42-17 win at Bowling Green.

FACTS & FIGURES

Akron won the first eight meetings against Buffalo, but is 3-8 in the past 11. … With 3,732 yards rushing in 31 career games, Patterson is 317 shy of tying the school record set by Branden “Bo” Oliver. … With 16 TDs rushing in just four games, Patterson is three shy of matching the single-season school record he set in 13 games last year. … Coach Lance Leipold is 35-32 in his sixth season at Buffalo, and 22-9 in his past three years with the Bulls in position to earn a third consecutive bowl invitation. … Akron coach Tom Arth won his 50th career game and first since taking over the Zips last year. The former NFL backup QB is 50-37 after a four-year stint at Division III John Carroll (40-8) followed by two seasons at UT Chattanooga (9-13). … The Zips swept the MAC’s three player of the week awards. Arslanian earned defensive honors, junior RB Teon Dollard earned offensive honors with a 185-yards rushing outing, and WR Gavin Blunt picked up special teams honors for recovering a blocked punt for a TD.

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